From Ass to Skunk: The Paintings of Nick Musaelian

Abend Gallery (in conjunction with Plus Gallery)

February 13 - March 13, 2015

  • Opening Reception: Friday February 13th from 6-9pm
  • Artist Talk: Wednesday March 4th at 7pm (postponed from February 21st)
musaelian-nick-it-is-terrible-to-die-of-thirst-in-the-ocean-egg-tempera-and-oil-800 lg
Nick Musaelian - It is terrible to die of thirst in the ocean - egg tempera and oil

After the sale of Plus Gallery’s physical location, we quickly contacted owner Ivar Zeile, to discuss the possible opportunities that this turn of events could afford. Having a great deal of respect for Ivar and the work he has done with Plus, we felt it was incumbent, for the sake of our local art scene, that he continue to show vital work here in Denver. From our discussions came the idea of hosting a Plus Gallery exhibition in our main gallery space. Plus Gallery will be presenting From Ass to Skunk, a solo exhibition for Nick Musaelian, a Colorado-based painter, spanning the first five years of his career since receiving his MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2009.

When formulating the ideas and concepts behind this collaboration with Plus Gallery and the work of Nick Musaelian, we resolved to go beyond simply hosting a “pop-up” exhibition in our space and leaving it there. What opportunities do we have as two galleries sharing the same space? How do the works influence each other? As such, we thought about how our stable of artists would interact with Nick Musaelian’s work and the vision of Ivar Zeile. In conceiving of our show, we wanted to create a deeper dialogue between Abend Gallery and Plus Gallery.

We took inspiration from the work of Nick Musaelian, and used his work to inform the concept behind our show. Specifically, we looked at the care and attention to detail that Nick puts into his work, as well as the depth of meaning that these works communicate. We were inspired to curate a show of our gallery artists, and a couple guests, and how narrative relates to their work. This was a very open-ended question that we posed to our artists, and left it to them to decide how best to respond to the concept of the exhibition. Each work will be accompanied by a written statement by the artist, describing the narrative behind the works. The narratives embodied by the works in the show will take on many forms, whether it be anecdotes or childhood memories that explain the artist’s connection to a scene, or complex backstories that may not be entirely evident in the works themselves. The writing will also take many forms, e.g. longer descriptions, excerpts from other works, or even single sentences.

Peggy McGivern has included two works paired with two excerpts from her memoir, When I was Six I was a Hose, which details the development of her artistic life. In the excerpt, McGivern states that, “With mutual respect, I would cautiously skirt the edge of the hill to a small pasture that held the old Hereford cow and her calf, the elder, oblivious to me, the littlest of humans. But sometimes, just sometimes the calf could be coaxed over with tender blades of green grass and I would feel a kindred connection to the small helpless creature, held captive by barbed wire.” Her relaying of a childhood memory helps to create an even deeper connection with the audience and this highly expressive work.

Derek Harrison pairs his work with a personal anecdote that enriches the emotive impact of the already stunning work. In his text, Derek describes the special meaning that the subject has for him: a personal memory that has continued to stick with him for years. Rather than a complex story, the narrative in this work takes the form of an emotional gut-reaction. He states, “Two figures, open and free, exploring this unique place hopefully invites one to become engaged with the experience and inspire to always appreciate that connection."

David Kammerzell has accompanied his works with short, declarative sentences that add impact to Kammerzell’s illustrative oil paintings that take many stylistic cues from 50’s and 60’s advertisements. For instance, one may not see much of a story behind an oil painting of a bridge, as in his work “Of a Dual Nature,” but David describes the story behind it, and the “dual nature” of this structure referenced in the title: “The project offered employment and hope to the many hundreds that worked on it. But only then did I find out the same bridge offered a means of ending the lives of those whose troubles was too much to bear.” In many ways, Kammerzell’s work looks at the real story behind these idyllic representations of a bygone era, he states that he “seeks to put the viewer in a time machine, but one where the boundaries of memory and longing are blurred. Is that the way it really was? Or do we wish to remember it that way?”

Of course, it is not a requirement to read the words on display. The works are able to stand alone, and can be enjoyed without the aid of sue that these two exhibitions as a whole will create an interesting dialogue between Abend Gallery and Plus Gallery.

Abend Gallery
2260 East Colfax
Denver, CO 80206
Tue-Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm



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